Panthers appear all over conference leaderboards


Karina Delgado

Eastern point guard Shareef Smith takes the ball up court in the Panthers’ 85-83 win over Austin Peay Saturday in Lantz Arena. Smith scored the winning basket with four seconds to play.

Dillan Schorfheide, Assistant Sports Editor

Josiah Wallace leads a handful of Eastern men’s basketball players who have found themselves sitting in top-10 spots in OVC statistical rankings.

Wallace has the most appearances in the top 10 of a statistical category with three.

Coming into this season, the spot to be the Panthers’ leading scorer was wide open to a small extent, and Wallace has, so far, taken that position, averaging 15.1 points per game, good for tied for seventh place in the conference leaderboard.

Wallace played one year at Olney Central College, where both he and Eastern head coach Jay Spoonhour have said that he grew as a scorer and really worked on his shooting.

Mack Smith is 19th on the points per game leaderboard, averaging 12.4 points per game, but he is in the top 10 in another category.

Sticking with Wallace, he is also fifth in the OVC for free throw percentage, making 81.5 percent of his free throws this season. He leads Eastern with that percentage, and Shareef Smith is 15th in the OVC with a 74.2 free throw percentage.

The last category Wallace has a top-10 spot in, eighth place, is minutes played per game at an average of 31.7.

Shareef Smith is second on the team in top-10 appearances with two of his own.

Smith has started to form into the ‘true’ point guard on the team, distributing the ball well offensively (while still being able to score), and his progress shows.

He is ninth in the OVC with a 1.5 assist to turnover ratio, and he also is eighth in the conference for assists per game with an average of 3.8.

Aside from Wallace and Shareef Smith, three other Panthers rank in the top 10 of different categories: Mack Smith, Kashawn Charles and Aboubacar Diallo.

Mack Smith ranks seventh in the conference for three-point field goals made, with 2.3 made on average per game.

Mack Smith has had some trouble shooting from long range earlier this season, and his overall three-point average is 36.4, down from his 38.8 percent mark last season. But in the last two games, he has averaged 50 percent from deep and scored a combined 40 points.

Staying with the three-point categories, Charles leads the entire OVC in made three-point percentage, shooting 51.4 percent beyond the arc.

Ben Harvey has had a notable start to his rookie career at Eastern, and he sits just outside the top 10 (11th place) in the same category, shooting 39 percent from deep.

Rounding out the list is Diallo, who is fifth in the OVC for blocked shots, averaging 1.1 per game.

Dillan Schorfheide can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]